Thursday, November 17, 2011

What happens when you meet a future dietitian??

Various rotation environments have helped me strengthen the ability to adapt to different settings and allowed me to quickly adjust. I thought I learned all that I need to know about foodservice when I did my first rotation at Riderwood but that was not the case. There is always room for new ideas where you will learn or share information. I have spent the last three weeks of October at the University of Maryland Dining Service preparing nutritional messages such as nutrition tips, exercise tips, cooking tips, and recipes on the Dining Services bulletin board for the employees. Other tasks included writing a monthly article, distributing educational materials for the students and also training employees on safely handling hazardous chemicals.

UMD dining service tries to offer a wide variety of healthy selections made by seasoned and certified professionals from the freshest ingredients. They handle resident dining including cafes and quick convenience shops, pick up catering, and full service restaurants. In addition, the dining service has a green dining program which tries to reduce, reuse, recycle, conserve and innovate any resource they use. I had the opportunity and pleasure to meet everyone from the Director to the servers who ensure that hundreds of people to eat safely and comfortably. My partner and I have spoken to UMD Dining employees about their job duties that includes budgeting, employee training on food and chemical safety, scheduling, and management. One of my favorite experiences of this rotation is “Meet the Dietitian Day”. It is a program that runs twice a month in South and North Campus Dining Halls during lunch time. The purpose of this program is to answer any student questions related to healthy or unhealthy meal choices, nutrition, and various other topics. During this rotation I had the opportunity to participate in two of the meetings. I was concerned that since I am not a dietitian yet, how can I do this? When I tell the students that I am not a dietitian but an intern, how would they respond? I was also afraid that they would not be attentive and listen to what I told them because I am not a dietitian. Most of the students assumed we were dietitians and some didn’t even question. I knew this was a great chance for me to apply all the nutrition knowledge I gained back in college. I had the opportunities to have a small conversation with students who have diabetes, high cholesterol, and others who just need nutrition tips. Most of the students were knowledgeable enough to discuss their questions and concerns.

The field of dietetics often involves working with different populations and this rotation taught me to develop good people skills and visualize the bigger part that an RD can contribute to college students. In addition, I also learned the different roles of an RD in school dining service. An RD may have many responsibilities in food service including personnel management, menu planning, budgeting, purchasing, marketing, and advertising in food service.

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